Century Marks

Century Marks


The Amish, like many Protestants, have blamed the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus. As pacifists, they haven’t been supportive of Israel, regarding Israel as an aggressive and militant state. A group of 31 Amish from the United States and Canada recently visited Israel to express their regrets for these positions. In a statement the delegation said: “We, the Amish and Anabaptist people, turned away from the Jewish nation while they were in their darkest hour of need. We hardened our hearts against them, we left them—never lifting our voices in protest against the atrocities that were committed against them. We want to publicly repent of this and acknowledge our support of Israel.” The group attracted attention by singing hymns at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (Jerusalem Post, February 11).

Food for thought

When Pastor Alois Bell’s group was hit with a mandatory 18 percent service charge in an Applebee’s restaurant in St. Louis, she wrote a biting note on the receipt: “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18%?” When the waitress posted the receipt online, it went viral. Bell later said that writing the note showed a lapse in judgment, but she complained to the restaurant about the unwanted publicity given to her and her church. Applebee’s fired the waitress. Shocked by her dismissal, the waitress said: “I come home exhausted, sore, burnt, dirty, and blistered on a good day. And after all that, I can be fired for ‘embarrassing’ someone who directly insults their server on religious grounds” (Christian Science Monitor, February 1).

Future of religion

Rowan Williams, who recently stepped down as archbishop of Canterbury, engaged in a debate last month at Cambridge University with the atheist author Richard Dawkins. Responding to the statement, “Religion has no place in the 21st century,” Williams said that religion has always been about community building, compassion and inclusion. Dawkins, who calls himself a cultural Anglican, said religion is a cop-out, and he pointed to the appalling treatment of women in Islam. Dawkins’s argument lost in a 324–136 vote (Independent, February 1).

Marriage flicks

When Jeanine Basinger decided to write a book about the portrayal of marriage in movies, she discovered that Hollywood isn’t much interested in marriage. Few movies treat the subject, and those that do are marketed as movies about love or romance. One movie executive said that you can’t get an audience interested in a man and a woman being faithfully married. Basinger identified another problem: “Marriage took time, and movies had no time to give to it. . . . Novels could be written about marriages, and plays could crystallize their tensions into significant scenes of dialogues; but . . . what were movies to do in 90 minutes?” (I Do and I Don’t, excerpted in Salon, February 3).

Loaded argument

Gun rights activists have argued that Hitler’s gun control laws left European Jews defenseless and that the Holocaust would not have happened—or at least would not have been as catastrophic—if Jews had had guns. The Anti-Defamation League has objected to the use of Nazi analogies to advance any political cause. An ADL spokesperson said that armed people couldn’t have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi state. Some European Jews had access to a small number of firearms. At most they could put up symbolic resistance, as happened in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (RNS).